Naples, Florida/Oslo (VG) President Joe Biden sounded the disaster alarm after Hurricane “Ian”, which caused massive devastation along Florida’s west coast.
Hurricane “Ian” hit Florida Wednesday evening and Thursday evening.
Biden said during a news conference at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they do not have accurate figures for the number of dead and injured, but there is talk of significant loss of life.
– It may be the deadliest hurricane in Florida history, says Biden.
The president has sounded the disaster alarm as he opens up to broad federal support in an effort to undo the devastation.
Biden says there are several federal rescue teams based in Florida. He stresses that maritime rescue services are now extremely important:
The Coast Guard deployed 16 rescue helicopters, six aircraft and 18 rescue boats.
Biden is clear in his speech to residents of the affected areas:
Don’t go out unless you have to.
It also gives a clear call to the oil and gas industry:
– Please don’t use this storm as an excuse to raise gas prices.
Reporting of deaths
CNN reports that 15 people have been confirmed dead so far as a result of the hurricane.
This was previously confirmed by Charlotte County, Florida Commissioner Chris Constance CNN Six people died after the hurricane.
Unfortunately, we currently have six confirmed fatal crashes. We have all of our crews outside now, assessing damage and conducting search and rescue operations. This is the biggest disaster I’ve ever seen, Constance told CNN Thursday.
Authorities in Volusia County, northeast of Orlando, Florida, earlier confirmed the death of a 74-year-old man as a result of Hurricane Ian. It’s reports BBC.
While the storm was raging, the man was said to have gone out to try to empty a puddle. He was later found dead.
In Li County, at least five people are said to have died, according to the authorities, type does not depend on.
Massive destruction in nine provinces
Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, reports massive devastation in nine Florida counties.
Areas of southwest Florida hardest hit, DeSantis says, and the city of Fort Myers “totally devastated” by the hurricane.
DeSantis says the Coast Guard has consistently conducted rescue missions on the barrier islands since this morning, but also in the flood-affected interior.
The National Guard and Coast Guard now have a total of 28 helicopters that are actively used in rescue missions, he says.
So far, 2.5 million are without electricity, and many hospitals are running generators.
– We are now working to evacuate two health facilities to safer areas in the north, says DeSantis.
Work is also underway to construct additional mobile towers to increase coverage, according to DeSantis media.
Florida’s Sheriff of Lee County, Carmine Marcino, said in an interview with ABC Television that he fears hundreds of deaths in the area after Hurricane Ian. Locals say they have never had a worse storm.
So far, he says, two people have been confirmed, possibly because of the hurricane, but they also don’t know for sure that it was Ian.
– It’s heartbreaking. We did some rescues and didn’t get to many people. I don’t have confirmed numbers, says Marcino, but I know for sure that there are hundreds.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was asked about this statement at a press conference Thursday morning local time. Try to de-dramatize the mayor’s statements.
– Nothing has been confirmed. The figure from Lee County is based on the number of emergency calls received about water rising rapidly in people’s homes. Many of these people are now trying to find out if they have made it to safety. You don’t know how it went with them. So in the coming days we will know more. I hope people will rise to a higher level, says DeSantis.
VG member Erlend Ofte Arntsen at Fort Mayers:
The worst storm I’ve ever seen
In Naples, on the west coast of Florida, VG meets Craig Aboza. He and his wife, Susan, have lived there for over 40 years, and have seen a number of tornadoes.
– But this is the worst storm I’ve ever seen. Craig says the water was flowing all the way.
He and his wife stayed in the apartment not far from the sea line all night.
The wind cut the trees in half. It’s disastrous. Wait until you look further down the street, Obza says.
Although hurricane winds are very strong and dangerous, it is often the water that follows them that takes the most lives in hurricanes, and is therefore the most dangerous.
Governor Ron DeSantis describes huge amounts of water and compares it to a 500-year flood. People who met VG in the affected areas can sign it.
– The road was dry, the storm passed, and then the water began to flow into the street.
Odd Askjem (52) from Nøtterøy is located in Kissimmee, Florida. Here’s a picture of Hurricane Ian Thursday night, US time:
We had 45 minutes and then the water rushed in, says Brian Fuller.
Beth and his wife’s flat on the ground floor near the beach in Naples was completely destroyed by the masses of water that threw furniture, seaweed and mud on each other.
It is known that Naples is very rich with many immigrants from the North, such as the Fuller couple from New Jersey.
While their house was completely destroyed by the water, they themselves took refuge in the neighbor upstairs.
We have hurricane-resistant windows. You can hardly hear the wind. We had electricity and internet until the last minute. It wasn’t so scary, Fuller says, it was even more frustrating.
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More than 2.5 million without electricity
Governor DeSantis says nearly all of Lee County and Charlotte County are powerless. In total, more than 2.5 million consumers are without electricity in the southwest of the state.
According to DeSantis, Fort Myers in Lee County was “completely devastated by the hurricane.” The city is practically under water.
There is also a risk of severe flooding hundreds of kilometers from where the cyclone passed, says the governor, who is asking people to be prepared because it will take years to rebuild after the massive damage it caused.
US President Joe Biden declared disaster in the state after the hurricane ravaged, allowing federal authorities to help with clean-up work.
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